There are some players (ahem, Jelena
Jankovic) to whom a chipped fingernail tends to spell impending disaster, and
others like Rafael Nadal who only get stronger as a result of an injury.
There are some who throw in the green
and purple Wimbledon towel as quickly as it takes to say 'Don't sing, Cliff -
that's why we put in a roof'; but Nadal is made of far sterner stuff.
The tennis pages of this parish have
been awash with accusations of mind games and gamesmanship from the world
number one after he recovered from lengthy injury time-outs to down Juan Martin
Del Potro in four sets yesterday.
The Argentine himself suffered a
nasty injury to his hip after stacking it like Bambi on ice on the baseline of
Centre Court, only he could not use the subsequent time-out to haul himself
through the fiercely-contested encounter.
Nadal has been called many things
since he played through the pain barrier to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals,
but not enough has been made of the Spaniard's unquenchable desire to succeed
regardless of his condition.
After what was one of the most hyped
MRI scans in the history of sport, the eagerly-awaited results simply showed
that there was no serious damage and the top seed's foot was in perfectly
What do we make of this? Well, the
first reaction should not be one of outcry because Nadal was patently injured
and in a great deal of pain, but it must make us all question how necessary the
interminable delays in play were which so fragmented a sparkling match.
Del Potro was perhaps rightly
aggrieved as he gave the umpire a good old-fashioned rollicking with Nadal
receiving an extended treatment from first the physio, then the tournament
That was not all. Nadal then departed
for a 'comfort break' at the very next changeover to no doubt receive further
treatment and a chance to regain his poise.
While Tramlines does not lambast the
Spaniard for such antics in the same way as many others appear to do, it would
like to see stricter regulations put in place to restrict endless injury
Tennis is part of the entertainment
business, and if a player is not willing to continue playing on after a
10-minute break seeing the physio and/or doctor then frankly he should be
carried away on a stretcher and withdrawn from the draw. This is sport, after
Still, the simple fact of the matter
is that Nadal is, along with Roger Federer, mentally the strongest man on the men's
tour and his injury yesterday appeared to only strengthen his unwavering
There is no doubt that the wear and
tear of the intensity of the tour is taking its toll on the Spaniard, and his
uncompromising approach is firmly at odds with longevity at the top of the game
in comparison to the fleet-footed, elegant Federer.
But in terms of this year's Wimbledon
title, Nadal's injury and subsequent recovery only serve as a warning for the
rest of the quarter-final contenders: the world number one has already come
through his biggest test.
OF THE DAY: The weather forecast was clear:
it was going to rain in South West London at around 12:50 local time. So what
did the Wimbledon officials decide to do at around 12:30? Retract the roof. The
subsequent deluge of rain made it patently clear that this was not the best
decision ever made by the All England Club. The ever-pandering BBC of course
did not even give mention to the unbelievable call given its association with
the club, but it was absurd beyond belief.
ODDS OF THE DAY: 4-1 - Murray to be clean-shaven for his quarter-final.
14-1 - Murray to win the title whisker-free on Sunday.
10-1 - Judy Murray (Andy's mother) blowing a kiss to heart-throb 'Deliciano' Lopez.
OF THE DAY: It was a case of 'take your
pick' as Sabine Lisicki unfurled numerous deft drop shots to dumbfound Marion
Bartoli, but it was a quite sublime lob following a dink over the net from the
German which took the spoils.
SNAP OF THE DAY: No one told Rory McIlroy that if he wanted to play in a doubles match with Andy Murray, John McEnroe and Pat Cash that he would have to ditch his suit and sling on a set of whites. Nevermind, he saw the funny side - not that Mac did.